Giants

Our fixation on legacies has latched onto Buster Posey and it needs to stop

Our fixation on legacies has latched onto Buster Posey and it needs to stop

It is almost disrespectful to raise the notion that Buster Posey’s career is winding down. Institutional players get a pass from such mundane analyses, and for the most part, they have that coming.

But he isn’t there yet, not because he has a bad hip. That’s not the sign of a career in decline. The sign of a career in decline is something more mundane, and more essentially nonsensical.

And that would be the inevitable punditocratic debate about whether Posey is a Hall of Famer.

And no, we are not having that here. That’s going to occur. Someone else can construct that particular torture chamber, because Buster Posey is not yet old enough or waning sufficiently in influence to have his legacy bandied about by amateurs.

I know you want to go there. I know you’re thinking about it, and you started thinking about it as soon as the Giants announced that he would miss the All-Star Game to get an injection. He is 32, he has lots of mileage on a catcher’s body, his numbers are declining and all that.

But once you cross the legacy threshold, you become an active participant in an athlete’s retirement. Legacy debates mean you are already thinking of an athlete in the past tense, and normally it is not their age but your sense of boredom that sparks such things.

Besides, legacy debates have helped ruin Tom Brady and LeBron James as conversation topics to the point where we are genuinely sick of them both even though we have no reason to be other than their essentially tedious excellence. They’re still playing, got it? They’re still alive, comprendo? When one of those two things stops being true, then you can go legacy on them.

But Posey has in all likelihood at least three years of service still to navigate, and unless he incurs an injury (say, to a hip) that becomes either chronic or catastrophic, he should be allowed those years.

This isn’t even about Posey anyway, if truth be told., It’s about our fixation on legacies. In no other business do we race so eagerly to get to the “is he done yet?” stage of a person’s career. In no other business does “What have you done for me lately?” transform so swiftly into “When can you stop doing it?”

Fact is, Buster Posey has plenty of time before his legacy needs to be discussed, and when it is discussed, the conversation will almost certainly be brief and laudatory. But I’m in no hurry, and you shouldn’t be either. If you need a legacy bone upon which to chew, go work on Carmelo Anthony. He’s about to lay waste to your second-least-favorite basketball team.

After two straight losses, Giants looking to regroup during All-Star break

After two straight losses, Giants looking to regroup during All-Star break

SAN FRANCISCO — The clubhouse cleared out quickly after Sunday’s games. Players are always in a rush to get to flights home after the final game of the first half, but you have a bit more urgency in your step when you’re trying to leave a couple losses behind.

There is one member of the clubhouse, though, who will not soon forget the way the Giants lost 6-2 to the A’s in their first-half finale. Bruce Bochy watched a lineup that looked tired and incapable of backing a suddenly sturdy staff. Afterward, he promised to spend the next four days pondering some solutions.

“That’s what I’m going to sit on here the next four days — if they need more breaks,” Bochy said. “We’ll think of things to keep them fresher and sharper.”

The team that faced Sean Manaea on Sunday looked very much in need of a break. The Giants had five scattered hits and a performance that would have looked right at home in last season’s first half. Bochy said he saw some tired bats, and the numbers this month look all too familiar, in the wrong way. The Giants have just six homers in July, the least in the Majors, after showing increased power early in the season.

Two have come from Chase d’Arnaud and Pablo Sandoval, fill-ins for Evan Longoria. Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez have the others. That’s not exactly how they drew this up. Bochy cut off a question about the backups having all the power this month.

“Oh I’m well aware of that,” he said, laughing.

Andrew McCutchen doesn’t have an extra-base hit this month, continuing a frustrating first season in San Francisco. Brandon Belt has three doubles but nothing more in July. Buster Posey also has three doubles and Brandon Crawford has a pair. Bochy is pleased with the additions of guys like d’Arnaud, Hanson and Steven Duggar, Sandoval’s improvements and Hernandez’s breakouts, but he knows he needs his big guns down the stretch.

“That’s what we’re missing as much as anything is power,” he said. “Not just homers — we’re not driving the ball like I think we can.”

The staff is hopeful that four days off will help. It’s not like the Giants have a tough travel schedule in front of them. They’ll regroup on Thursday in Oakland for a workout and then play three more in the East Bay, where most of this roster lives. After that it’s a day off and two in Seattle, and then it’s back home.

Bochy revealed that Dereck Rodriguez will get the opener in Oakland, followed by Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Andrew Suarez. Jeff Samardzija, placed on the DL on Sunday, is a possibility for the fifth spot, although Derek Holland seems far more likely.

Rodriguez got the nod in part to break up the lefties and righties, but also as a reward for the good work he has done. He has been a revelation, helping the Giants stay above water. Even after losing two straight to the A’s, the Giants finished the first half at 50-48 and just four games behind the Dodgers in the National League West.

A year ago at the break, this club was 34-56 and 27 games out of first place.

Giants enter All-Star break with a whimper, lose second straight to A's

Giants enter All-Star break with a whimper, lose second straight to A's

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- There were many positives in the first half for the Giants, but the All-Star break came with a whimper. 

The lineup scattered five hits, Andrew Suarez had a rare dud, and the Giants fell 6-2 to the A's in the third game of this six-game set. They've lost two straight after a good win on Friday night and enter the break with a 50-48 record and in fourth place in the National League West. 

Here's what you need to know from "Don't Miss Your Red-eye Flight" Day... 

--- Suarez was cruising through his final start of the half before the wheels came off in the fourth. Suarez didn’t allow a hit to that point, but Jed Lowrie walked with one out and the A’s followed with four consecutive singles. A sacrifice fly capped the four-run inning. Suarez gave up four earned in five innings, walking two and striking out five. He had allowed four total runs in his four previous starts. 

--- Because of all his injuries, Ray Black often wasn’t allowed to pitch back-to-back days in the minor leagues. Bruce Bochy tested him Sunday, sending him out for the seventh a few hours after Black got a couple outs in relief of Tony Watson. Black easily handled the test, striking out two and getting a pop-up to center. His fastball was down a tick… to 97. 

--- Chase d’Arnaud hit a solo shot, his second since being called up. The veteran is tied with Pablo Sandoval for the team lead in homers in July. That’s nice for d’Arnaud, not so great for this offense. The Giants have just six homers this month.